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Magic permeates pages throughout this children's classic of Ukrainian folktales--and not only refers to the egg (the last folktale--The Magic Egg), but also to your journey as you'll trace Ukrainian culture and history via maps, color and black-and-white photographs, a glossary, a pronunciation guide, a bibliography and all thirty-three tales, which are categorized into four parts: Part I: Animal Tales; Part II: How and Why Stories; Part III: Moral Stories; and, Part IV: Legends and Fairy Tales. The sources of the collection are varied, and "for each tale diverse sources were consulted."
The colored covers depict on the front a painting by Ukrainian artist Alexander Tkachenko, on the back a painting by Ukrainian artist Halyna Mazepa, and Joan Garner's Cover Design, which enhances and embellishes both.
Published by Libraries Unlimited, Inc. as part of The World Folklore Series, `The Magic Egg and Other Tales from Ukraine' is magic magnified and encyclopedic in its scope. This large 222-page book is a must for libraries, both personal and public. Without a doubt, once you pick up this book, you'll want to add it to your personal library to be enjoyed endlessly and passed on to succeeding generations.
The collection of tales presented within the pages of `The Magic Egg and Other Tales from Ukraine' contains not only stories that appear in standard collections of Ukrainian folklore, new versions of old favorites, and stories that have not been routinely published in folktale collections, but also includes material that is little known outside Ukraine, and material that has been mislabeled as Russian.
The tales are retold with care by author Barbara J. Suwyn, a professional copywriter and published poet, who has taught creative writing and journal-keeping classes in an adult education program and is a member of the Voices of Women (VOW) writers' group. Ms. Suwyn has also included some of her fun drawings, which enhance each tale.
Story Editor Natalie O. Kononenko, Ph.D., is a Professor at the University of Virginia, where she taught folklore courses that were very popular with both undergraduate and graduate students, and, where, since 1998, she has been Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures. She became committed to the study of folklore while studying at Harvard University under the famous folklorist Albert Lord. Her other work includes studies of Ukrainian and Turkish folk performers and writings about ritual and ethnography. Her book `Ukrainian Minstrels: And the Blind Shall Sing' has been awarded the Kovaliv prize (an international award) in 1997 and the American Association for Ukrainian Studies book prize in 2000.
Dr. Kononenko also authors the very informative Introduction to Ukrainian Folktales, which appears in "The Magic Egg and Other Tales from Ukraine.' She informs readers that Ukrainian folklore was often published not as Ukrainian material, but "as a subdivision of Russian folklore." Even Aleksandr Afanas'ev's collection, Russian Folk Tales, includes Ukrainian and Belarusian tales, and is not, strictly speaking, a collection of only Russian tales. Because Ukraine was labeled as Little Russia, and the Ukrainian language was erroneously considered a distant dialect of Russian, Ukrainian "folklore was seen as subsumable under Russian folklore."
Distinctions and awards bestowed on Professor Kononenko include: Ukrainian Academy of Sciences in the United States, elected 2000; Raven Society, University of Virginia Literary, Academic, and Service Honorary, elected 1999; Shevchenko Scientific Society, Ukrainian Academic Honorary, elected 1998; Best book prizes for Ukrainian Minstrels: And the Blind Shall Sing: Kovaliv prize (an international award), 1997; American Association for Ukrainian Studies book prize, 2000; University of Virginia Alumni Association Young Teacher Award, 1979 (first woman to receive this award); Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honorary, elected 1982; and, Faculty Senate of the University of Virginia, 1982-86.
Although it's found in the kids/juvenile section in libraries, this book also deserves serious study by adults for its condensed history of Ukraine, very informative Introduction to Ukrainian Folktales, detailed Glossary and Pronunciation Guide, and Bibliography (Folktale Collections; Picture Books; Historical, Language, and Cultural Information Sources; Sources on Folklore and Folk Belief; Other Sources; Bookstores, Gift Shops, and Catalogs; and, Publishers and Research Organizations). A hearty five-stars plus for a book you're sure to treasure and pass along to future generations!
Addendum: Readers, you're invited to visit each of my reviews--most of them have photos that I took in Ukraine (over 600)--you'll learn lots about Ukraine and Ukrainians. The image gallery shows smaller photos, which are out of sequence. The preferable way is to see each review through my profile page since photos that are germane to that particular book/VHS/DVD are posted there with notes and are in sequential order.
To visit my reviews: click on my pseudonym, Mandrivnyk, to get to my profile page; click on the tab called review; scroll to the bottom of the section, and click on see all reviews; click on each title, and on the left-hand side, click on see all images. The thumbnail images at the top of the page show whether photos have notes; roll your mouse over the image to find notes posted.
Also, you're invited to visit my Listmania lists, which have materials sorted by subject matter.